Q:

Is it smart to try to go it alone?

A:

The Rinehardt Law Firm of Mansfield-Columbus, OH knows the pros and cons of hiring an attorney.

Pros:

  • I will have someone on my side fighting for me and looking out for my best interest. I will not have to worry about the insurance adjuster pulling the wool over my eyes.
  • My lawyer will stop the insurance adjuster from bothering me with phone calls and letters. With my attorney taking care of the paperwork nightmare, I will be able to concentrate on putting my life back together and recovering from my injuries.
  • I can get rid of my stress because I will have someone to look out for my best interests and stand up to the insurance company with its high priced lawyers.
  • When it comes time to settle my case, I will have someone who will know what a fair settlement of my case should be.
  • If the insurance company won't be reasonable, I will have someone who will go to court to make the insurance company do what is right.

Cons:

As with any professional, my doctor, my dentist, and even my mechanic, my attorney will have to be paid. But, with the contingent fee contract, I only pay when I win my case by paying a percentage of the award.

Q:

If I hire a lawyer does that mean my case will have to go to court?

A:

In the majority of the cases that we handle, the insurance companies pay before we take them to court. Settlements occur when the insurance company offers a large enough sum of money to provide you with fair recovery. Sometimes the insurance companies refuse to make a fair offer. When the insurance company won't pay, we take the case to court.

Q:

What if I started handling my case on my own but now I think I need a lawyer?

A:

It is not too late to hire a lawyer. The sooner you hire a lawyer, the faster your attorney can start protecting you and putting together the evidence needed to win your case. Better late than never.

Q:

What do the statistics say?

A:

A large study and another separate report done by the Insurance Research Council (IRC) points to payouts that were much higher when the injured party was represented by an attorney. Another study presented by the All-Industry Research Advisory Council (ARAC) reached the same conclusion, proving that when it comes to personal injury claims, having an attorney on your side can make a large monetary difference when it comes to the value of your case.

Study: Paying For Auto Injuries: Consumer Panel Survey of Auto Accident Victims

The IRC study surveyed 6,000 people who had been injured in auto accidents to determine the types of injuries, treatment, economic losses and reimbursement they experienced. Questions were asked regarding the settlement amount that victims received from insurance companies.  The results were surprising to some, but not to most personal injury lawyers or insurance companies. Victims who had an attorney on their side received settlements of an average of 40% higher than those who went it alone.

Report: Auto Injuries: Claiming Behavior and Its Impact on Insurance Costs

In a separate report issued by the IRC, the agency again looked at insurance payouts for auto accident injuries and how it was tied to attorney representation. This report contained even more astounding numbers than the study. 

The IRC estimated that 85% of all money paid out for bodily injury claims by insurance companies are paid to victims with an attorney representing them. In addition, when they looked at the total amount paid out on all auto injuries claims, those with attorneys were paid 3 ½ times more than those who did not hire an attorney. For example, that’s the difference of $10,000 versus $35,000! 

The IRC study shows that insurance companies will take advantage of victims who do not have anyone looking out for their best interests.

Study: Attorney Involvement in Auto Injury Claims

Another study done by the All-Industry Research Advisory Council (ARAC) also revealed the difference in payouts with a lawyer versus without. First, the study showed those with larger losses were more likely to hire an attorney. Second, like the IRC study, the ARAC study found that when an attorney was hired by the victim, they received a significantly larger settlement. 

For example, victims with attorneys received $1.59 per dollar that was lost due to the accident, where those without a lawyer only received $1.26. In a $20,000 claim, the difference would be about $6,600 and in a larger claim of $100,000, the difference would be $33,000, and so on. The bottom line is that it is wise to hire an experienced personal injury attorney to fight for you.

Q:

What questions should I ask before I hire a law firm?

A:

  • Does the lawyer work in personal injury law exclusively?
  • What type of experience does the law firm have your particular type of accident?
  • What is the law firm’s success rate with your type of case.
  • Is the law firm familiar with your injury?
  • Does the law firm seem attentive to your needs?
  • Has the law firm earned the respect of their peers in the legal community?